Welcome to August! Four months down, two to go. Earlier in the season, I was all about having patience for your struggling sluggers. Now that we’re down to just eight weeks of baseball, I’m more likely to ride the hot hand and opportunity is everything. There were some big-name third basemen who moved at the trade deadline including Kris Bryant and Eduardo Escobar. For the most part, nothing changes for those players, but there is now an opportunity that opens (or closes) with their move. In Chicago, Patrick Wisdom has become the Cubs’ everyday clean-up hitter, causing his value to spike. However, in Milwaukee, Luis Urias went from having regular plate appearances to being the odd man out in a crowded infield. One door closes, another one opens. Let’s take a look at the list and then we’ll get into our movers.
|2||Rafael Devers||3B||Red Sox||–|
|14||Yoan Moncada||3B||White Sox||-2|
Bumping all the way up to number 11 on this list is Jean Segura. There isn’t a ton that’s sexy about Segura’s game. He’ll most likely end the year with 10 homers and stolen bases, but in Segura, you’re getting consistency. El Mambo sits atop the Phillies lineup most days and will provide a .300 average with ample runs down the stretch. And if you’re roster requirement is loving vanilla ice cream, look no further as Segura is your man.
Jonathan India has Segura-esque qualities and has been a steady riser on this list. While his strikeout rate is higher than Segura, India has an impressive plate approach, especially for someone who before this year had never had an at-bat above AA. India took over as the Reds’ leadoff hitter on June 5th and has not disappointed, posting a 14.7% walk rate while batting close to .300. During those 51 games, he’s tallied 41 runs scored and for the year, his 57 runs scored ranks 7th among third basemen.
We have officially entered “Kyle Seager Scorch Season”. The Mariners’ veteran mashed 16 homers in the first half, albeit with a paltry .213 batting average. Since the All-Star Break though, Seager is walking more often than he’s striking out while continuing to hit for power. This is the Seager that people thought they were getting in draft season. The Mariners as a team have picked the offense up in the second half, averaging 5.31 runs per game. That’s a full 1.25 runs per game more than the first half.
This is a little peek behind the process, but to do this list, I try and balance what the projection systems spit out with what I see happening (i.e. change in plate approach, playing time, batting order, etc.). Three players that I’m wildly different on than Steamer ROS are Alex Bregman, Josh Donaldson, and Anthony Rendon. The Angels’ injury-prone slugger didn’t even sniff this list since he hasn’t even resumed baseball activities and yet the projection system has him being the 22nd most productive third baseman. They also have Donaldson and Bregman ranked as the 8th and 10th third basemen. Bregman just got shut down in his rehab appearance with hamstring tightness, while Donaldson has missed the last four games with the same injury. There’s no way I have the confidence in these two to rank them near the healthy bats of Austin Riley and DJ LeMahieu.
There was a lot of turnover at the bottom of the list. Burn and churn, that’s what I always say. As I mentioned in the opener, Luis Urias has become the odd man out in Milwaukee. With Kolton Wong healthy and the Brewers bringing in Willy Adames and Eduardo Escobar, Urias has returned to his bench/utility role. The once-hot Joey Wendle has cooled off and is in a platoon role with Yandy Diaz. Speaking of Diaz, he was on my shortlist of options for the final couple of spots, but his best use is that of a daily league when the Rays face a left-handed pitcher.
Abraham Toro was traded to the Mariners and has slid right into the middle of the lineup. That opportunity is really intriguing to me and I’d rather have Toro than the forever-struggling Eugenio Suarez. A player that I feel I’ve overlooked all year is Jeimer Candelario. Maybe it’s a result of playing for the Tigers, or that he’s more of a better real-life player than a fantasy player. But the Candyman has posted a decent batting average all year while walking at an 11% rate.
Finally, Alec Bohm has finally returned to the list. Bohm has actually been solid in terms of batting average since the beginning of June, batting .322. However, what’s been missing is any sort of power as of his 46 hits since June 1st, he has just 8 extra-base hits. At this point in the year, he can at least be a counting stat/batting average asset for you down the stretch.